CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After Westmoreland Coal Company provided more than 1,000 coal miners — including 65 employees in West Virginia — with notices about their health care, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is again urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to put forward legislation to protect miners’ pensions up for a vote.
The employees learned their health care benefits will be cut at the end of the year.
Manchin introduced the American Miners Act in January, which would require additional funds to the United Mine Workers of America Pension plan as well as extend health care coverage to coal miners whose employers went bankrupt last year. Westmoreland Coal and Misson Coal Co. declared bankruptcy in 2018, although Westmoreland Coal left bankruptcy in March.
“Our coal miners made a commitment to provide our nation with the energy we needed to power our nation to prosperity. They did so time and time again even when it risked their health and their lives,” Manchin said. “It is our turn now to keep our promise to them and ensure that we secure their hard-earned pensions and their promised healthcare and black lung benefits.”
The measure would also restore the Black Lung Liability Trust Fund excise tax.